Journal Article

Adherence to antiretroviral therapy and its effect on survival of HIV-infected individuals in Jharkhand, India

Introduction
Research in India has extensively examined the factors associated with non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) with limited focus on examining the relationship between adherence to ART regimen and survival status of HIV infected patients. This study examines the effect of optimal adherence to ART on survival status of HIV infected patients attending ART centers in Jharkhand, India.

Materials and Methods
Data from a cohort of 239 HIV infected individuals who were initiated ART in 2007 were compiled from medical records retrospectively for 36 months. Socio-demographic characteristics, CD4 T cell count, presence of opportunistic infections at the time of ART initiation and ART regimen intake and survival status was collected periodically. Optimal adherence was assessed using pill count methods; patients who took <95% of the specified regimens were identified as non-adherent. Cox-proportional hazard model was used to determine the relative hazards of mortality.


Results
More than three-fourths of the patients were male, on an average 34 year old and median CD4 T cell count was 118 cells/cmm at the time of ART registration. About 57% of the patients registered for ART were found to be adherent to ART. A total of 104 patients died in 358.5 patient-years of observation resulting in a mortality rate of 29 per 100 patient-years (95% confidence interval (CI): 23.9-35.2) and median survival time of 6.5 months (CI: 2.7-10.9). The mortality rate was higher among patients who were non-adherent to ART (64.5, CI: 50.5-82.4) than who were adherent (15.4, CI: 11.3-21.0). The risk of mortality was fourfold higher among individuals who were non-adherent to ART than who were adherent (Adjusted hazard ratio: 3.9, CI: 2.6-6.0).

Conclusion
Adherence to ART is associated with a higher chance of survival of HIV infected patients, ascertaining the needfor interventions to improve the ART adherence and early initiation of ART.